Closeness Between God and Us

Institution of the Eucharist by Justus van Gent

Father Cassilly writes: “Since man cannot entertain friendship for what is far beneath him in the scale of being, with a tree or insect, how can God be the friend and companion of what is relatively still further below Him? Yea, the whole world in comparison with the Creator is not so much as a grain of sand, as a drop of morning dew that gathers on the blade of grass and vanishes before the rising sun. Reason, then, left to itself, it would appear, could never come to know that God is man’s friend.”

“Revelation, the twin light of man’s intellect, then comes in to tell us further of the Creator’s love for intelligent creatures, that ‘He hath first loved us,’ that ‘God is charity, and he that abideth in charity abideth in God, and God in him’ (1 John 4:16). Again, we hear Christ’s solemn words at the Last Supper, ‘If anyone love Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and will make our abode with him’ (John 14:23). How all this can be, how God can deign to enter into friendship and amity with so lowly a creature as man, is beyond our comprehension—it is a mystery springing from the heights and depths of the Divine Goodness, and inscrutable to reason. But what is revealed we know to be true. We accept it as a fact.”

Christ and the Samaritan Woman by Nicolas Colombel

“For God to love us with charity we must be worthy. But by mere nature we were and are all unworthy. No one can truly love an unworthy object.” Yet, “He loved us before we were able to return this affection, ages and ages before we existed or were thought of save in the Divine mind.” Therefore, “He must in His omniscient sanctity devise some means of elevating us, of raising us to a plane of holiness where He could love us, cherish us as His very own, without degrading Himself.” And, indeed, He did.

“He found a way of infusing into the soul a supernatural goodness, which makes it lovable to Him, and at the same time enables it to love Him in return after the manner of true friendship. This marvellous elevation of the soul in the supernatural order is effected by grace. It is a favor not due to man, a gift transcending the rights and exigencies of all created nature, human or angelic, and hence something that the mere natural man could never have coveted in his wildest dreams of fancy. This grace brings us into a companionship and similarity with God.” Thus, St. Peter remarks: “He hath given us most great and precious promises; that by these you may be made partakers of the Divine nature (2 Pet 1:4).”

Quotations from Francis Cassilly, A Story of Love, 2d ed. (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1917).

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